In The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting Strategies and Solutions, Sarah Naish offers a concise overview of theory underpinning behaviours, child development and the impact of trauma; the value of therapeutic parenting, together with an extensive list of frequent behaviours displayed and strategies to be used as a therapeutic parent. This is a largely practical, solution based, child focused read, which offers plenty of imaginative and effective strategies, couched in the reassurance of understanding the realism of the day to day challenges faced by adoptive parents and foster carers, to meet the needs of the children they care for and love.

Sarah draws from her extensive experience as an adoptive parent, Foster carer and as a qualified social worker. She identifies common issues and considers how, as a therapeutic parent, these can be responded to effectively.

The book is based on her own experiences and strategies she has devised and adapted. She acknowledges the contribution the Dan Hughes and other practitioners have made, in enabling her to develop child focused responses which support a nurturing parenting style.

The book is an easy to use resource, which gives an alphabetical presentation of behaviours ranging from Absconding to how to approach a Messy Bedroom to Social Media issues. What is very useful in Sarah’s approach is that each behaviour is considered using a format of what the behaviour looks like, why it might happen, and a reality check. Then she offers useful strategies which are further broken down, in some cases, to preventative strategies, strategies during and strategies after.

The approach is underpinned by a belief in the benefit of therapeutic parenting for all children. Sarah highlights the need for firm boundaries and structure alongside a strong empathic and nurturing approach. She acknowledges that at times parents and carers may not always get things right, but it is important to understand this and strive to be as therapeutic as possible whenever possible.

Adoptive parents, foster carers, kinship carers and practitioners who provide support to carers, would all find this book of use. It presents practical solutions, based on a sound understanding of the conceptual basis and effectiveness of the therapeutic parent approach, and demonstrates the very real difference this approach can make when supporting children who have experienced trauma.


Reviewed by Felicity Lacey, Director, Cuffe and Lacey Associates, social work and therapeutic services

The A-Z of Therapeutic Parenting-Strategies and Solutions, Sarah Naish, Jessica Kinsley Publishers